WaPo's Jennifer Rubin rips WH for not ramping up Afghan rescue mission after cheerleading Biden all week

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Media top headlines August 19

In media news today, Biden faces intense backlash for avoiding questions on Afghanistan following address, Biden says ongoing ‘chaos’ in the country was ‘priced’ into the withdrawal decision, and an MSNBC opinion piece compares Republicans to the Taliban

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is lashing out at the White House for not ramping up efforts to rescue Americans out of Afghanistan after spending much of the week cheerleading President Biden’s withdrawal. 

Reacting to the Pentagon press briefing, Rubin drew a sharp contrast between Britain’s handling of getting its citizens out of the Taliban-controlled country versus the U.S. 

“at @DeptofDefense briefing: British paratroopers going out into Kabul to get their people. Why aren’t we? DOD isn’t authorized. WH needs to give that authorization and give enough troops to do that. WTF are we waiting for?” Rubin asked. 

This marks a sudden shift in tone from Rubin, who is known for showering Biden with praise and a Twitter favorite of White House chief of staff Ron Klain. 

On Monday, Rubin hailed Biden’s speech to the nation, declaring it “the best possible defense of his Afghanistan withdrawal.”

“President Biden’s case for the fruitlessness of a continued military mission in Afghanistan got a boost as the Afghan army melted away, and its leaders fled practically overnight… Biden made a strong point — one likely to find receptive ears among voters — that he refuses to maintain the lie to Americans that victory is around the corner,” Rubin began her column. “If Biden got something wrong, it is that he gave too much credence to military leaders who had assured him that the situation in Afghanistan was improving. He wisely conceded the collapse of the Afghan forces happened faster than expected. The assumption that Afghan military forces would survive more than a week was as flawed as the assessments of the 20-year conflict.”

“Biden gave the best speech under the circumstances. He was not defensive. He literally said that the ‘buck stops with me.’ The public will reward him if the withdrawal does not lead to a repeat of 9/11. And they will forgive him the chaos if he gets thousands of innocents out of the Taliban hellhole,” Rubin added. 

On Tuesday, Rubin continued her marathon of complimenting the president with a column titled, “Biden refused to fall for two decades of military dissembling.”

“President Biden deserves ample criticism for a clumsily executed, poorly planned evacuation in Afghanistan…But he should also receive credit for calling out the military’s dissembling about our progress that paralyzed three previous presidents,” Rubin wrote. “Fault Biden for the rushed and inept pullout, but he remains the only president of four (and one of the earliest senators) to reject the military’s false portrait of the conflict and to say so publicly. He wasn’t being discourteous to the Afghan military or blame-casting when he told Americans on Monday that the Afghan army lacked the will to fight. He was treating Americans like adults deserving of the unvarnished truth.”

The Post columnist even defended the Biden administration by scolding the media for the “false narratives” being pushed. 

“The administration may be wrong about the difficulty of timing the evacuation… It may have excessive confidence in our ability to keep the homeland safe without troops on the ground. Time will tell. However, snap judgments from those who contributed to the 20-year fiasco have already proved overwrought if not flat-out false,” Rubin argued.

The fawning continued into Wednesday in a column insisting Biden still “has leverage in Afghanistan.”

“We still have firepower on the ground, and we have financial leverage over the Taliban. A skillful administration would be using both to full effect,” Rubin wrote. “We need a transactional relationship that we are willing to enforce through remaining military forces and financial pressure. If we can do that and continue to protect our interests, the Biden administration’s reputation for competency might get a much-needed boost.”

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